Tutorial: Restore Firefox Bookmark

(Saturday, February 17, 2007)

This tutorial guides you on the process to restore firefox’s bookmarks. It is important to act QUICK. If your bookmarks has been corrupted / broken for more than 5 days, your chances of recovering it is slimmer. I’m running on Windows XP. Therefore, some instructions or folders may be different if you’re running on a different operating system.

Firstly, startup the ‘Run‘ command (Start button –> Run). Type “%APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox” into the box and click “OK” (as shown in Figure 1).

Run Command
Figure 1

If no error occurs, a folder will open as shown in Figure 2.

Application data folder
Figure 2

Proceed by opening the “Profiles” folder until you’ve entered a folder named “bookmarkbackups” (as shown in Figure 3). Here is where your previous 5 days backup of bookmark is stored.

Backup bookmarks
Figure 3

Each file is named as such “bookmarks-(backup-date)”. Start by opening the latest date available and check if that file is working. A corrupted file may be empty, or may contain non-alphanumeric characters. If the file is corrupted, try the next latest date, until you found one that is working. A working file will list all your previous bookmarks accordingly.

Once you’ve found a working backup file, you may restore your bookmarks using one of the following 2 options below:

1. In Firefox, open the Bookmarks Manager (Bookmarks –> Organize Bookmarks…). Open the following menu (File –> Import). Select the “From File” option and click “Next”. Select the working backup file, and proceed.

2. Note: All current bookmarks will be lost. Choose option 1 if you’ve any bookmarks you would like to keep.

Close all Firefox browser. Rename the backup file to “bookmarks.html”. Next, copy and overwrite the backup file to the parent directory which contains another “bookmarks.html” file (which is your current bookmark).

Eg: Copy and overwrite “bookmarks.html” from “…\Profiles\by8e3pfj.default\bookmarkbackups” to “…\Profiles\by8e3pfj.default”.

If you’re using a different operating system from Windows XP, click here to find out where your backup bookmarks folder is located.

For more information, read this.

There you have it. Hope this tutorial helps.

UPDATED on 20th March 2007:

I just received a comment from Kettir who said he has the same problem (losing all my Firefox bookmarks) as I did few weeks back. He has recovered his bookmarks from the backup but is experiencing problems adding new bookmark now.

In fact, I had the same problem as well. I managed to restore my bookmarks, but wasn’t able to add new bookmarks to it. I did find a solution to it. However, I didn’t included it in this tutorial due to SEVERE LAZINESS. Sorry…here it is:

According to this article, it seems that this problem is caused by a corrupted localstore.rdf file. This file is located in the parent directory of the bookmarkbackups folder. In other words, if you bookmarkbackups folder is in “…\Profiles\by8e3pfj.default\bookmarkbackups“, then the localstore.rdf file is located in “…\Profiles\by8e3pfj.default“.

To diagnose if your localstore.rdf file is corrupted, simply open it with wordpad. If it’s corrupted, you’ll see hundreds of ‘boxes’ like the one below.

Corrupted localstore.rdf

A healthy looking localstore.rdf file should contain identifiable XML tags and words that you should be able to read. Note: I said “read”, not “understand”. :) The picture below shows a healthy looking localstore.rdf file.

Working localstore.rdf

If you’re absolutely sure that your localstore.rdf file is corrupted, here’s how to fix it. According to the same article mentioned earlier, you should:

Step 1: Close all your Firefox browsers.

Step 2: Delete the localstore.rdf file (Note: Read the article, do not delete the wrong file. There seems to be another localstore.rdf file in a different folder. However, I strongly suggest you rename the file to something else (eg. localstore.rdf.bak instead of deleting it. At least you have a backup if you need it again).

Step 3: Open your Firefox browser again.

There you go, your bookmarks should be working as usual now.

Hope this updated version helps.